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MoschMosch

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Hauptstraße 136 69117 Heidelberg

The void created by the closure of Mr. Whang’s restaurant left the busy Heidelberg Hauptstraße without a good Japanese establishment for several months.  Only a few weeks ago, though, a new restaurant reopened the doors here for the first time in a while.  MoschMosch, a Japanese noodle bar franchise in Germany, has confidently stepped in and taken on the responsibility of providing locals and tourists an alternative choice to the often heavy meal options in the surrounding German restaurants.

 

MoschMosch maintains a modern, stylish look that makes it seem almost out of place in comparison to some of the rustic establishments nearby.  Upon entering the place, guests are immediately drawn to the calming neutral color scheme inside.  Seating arrangements are dominated by natural wood fixtures – wooden tables and square stools.  Contemporary light fixtures further add to the chic and trendy design.  A bar area towards the back of the restaurant will also attract your eye’s attention, as will the large colorful caricature of a Japanese geisha – MoschMosch’s mascot.  The dining atmosphere itself is nonchalant and casual.

A good number of staff workers are always on hand, even when the place isn’t teeming with patrons, which is certainly a positive since you are almost immediately served.  Disposable chopsticks are provided, but standard utensils are also available.  A high level of cleanliness is maintained at MoschMosch.

Tables are all set with paper-thin menu placemats awaiting visitors at each seat.  While waiting for service, guests can learn a little bit of the Japanese language from the tiny phrase book section on the sheet.  The food and drink listings aren’t overly large by any means.  Rather, it is smartly focused on particularly popular noodle bar items.

 

For appetizers, one can order Japanese potstickers (gyoza) with various fillings, yakitori sticks, edamame, miso soup, and summer and egg rolls, among other things.  For main dishes, there are a few salad items, a handful of different types of ramen noodle soups with varying accompaniments, rice bowl dishes (donburi), and fried noodle dishes such as yakisoba and yakiudon.  Also on the menu are meals ideal for the summer, rightfully labeled summer dishes.  Drinks include a short list of wines and beers (including Sapporo Japanese brand beer).  MoschMosch also features its own homemade ice tea and lemonade, which are both refreshing.  The iced tea, though, is tastier and the sweeter of the two.

 

Despite a few minor drawbacks, yakisoba – ramen style noodles stir fried in yakisoba sauce – is worth ordering.  A truly versatile dish, the fried noodles are accompanied by an interesting medley of fresh vegetables, including carrots, green onion, cabbage, sliced mushrooms, and bean sprouts.  Sesame seeds and strips of seaweed top off the dish.  A small lime wedge is also given.  Meat can be added for a small extra fee.  For instance, adding chicken to the dish will add an additional 1,75 € to the 6,75 € price tag for a standard yakisoba.

There is a generous amount of meat and vegetables in the dish, more than the noodles will allow for.  With the large assortment of vegetables featured, there is quite a colorful amount of textures and flavors going on.  Crunchy bean sprouts and carrots complement the spongy noodles and the moist, juicy pieces of chicken.  The sesame seeds add a great nutty flavor, the seaweed a wonderful, nutritious dimension.  In an order of chicken yakisoba, the chicken is really well seasoned and a tad bit spicy.  The tiny pieces of meat offer another brilliant burst of flavor.

Consistency, though, appears to be a problem.  On one visit, the noodles were not flavored well with the yakisoba sauce.  At times, the noodles would be concentrated and full of flavor; in other areas of the dish, tasteless.  But fortunately, you can find condiments at each table to add flavor to the dish.  There is soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, as well as seasoning powder with chili flakes (not really spicy).

 

The Katsudon is a great choice for diners just diving into Japanese cuisine.  Katsudon is essentially Japanese style schnitzel on rice.  The dish is served in a large bowl filled with white rice and topped with various grilled vegetables – cabbage, sliced carrots, red bell peppers, and mushrooms – and pork cutlet.  The pork is breaded wonderfully with panko breadcrumbs, deep-fried until crisp, and topped with a chili soy sauce.  Sprinkled on top are sesame seeds.  The pork is tender and very flavorful.  Rice is also cooked well.  Unfortunately, the given amount of pork is insufficient for the quantity of rice.  Fortunately, the grilled vegetables make up for it.

Five different desserts can be ordered, each priced at 4 euros.  The Ti-La-Mi-Su is nothing to write home about.  Instead of lady finger biscuits, layers of cake are sandwiched between layers of cream.  Cocoa powder is dusted on top and the cold dessert is served with refreshing mint leaves.  The cake has bits of nuts within, providing a nice texture.  But as far as flavor is concerned, the tiramisu is merely a yawn.

 

A better option might be the Bananen-Frühlingsrollen, which are essentially banana spring rolls.  Drizzled on top of the hot, crisp rolls is a generous serving of viscous honey.  The banana rolls are sweet and have a delicate outer layer that works perfectly with the fruit.  It tastes like corn flakes with bananas and warm honey.  The honey adds an extra amount of sweetness to the dish and brings it all together.  Although the rolls are slightly greasy, the dish is a delightful snack and a fine way to end your meal.

 

Though far from serving up truly authentic and traditional dishes, MoschMosch makes a fine attempt at introducing a portion of Japanese cuisine into the mainstream.  After all, most Europeans associate sushi with Japanese and not much else.  With its simple, yet modern, interior, fresh ingredients, and its enjoyable number of noodle and rice entrées, MoschMosch is a good indication of the growing appreciation for international cuisine here in Germany.

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Summary:

With a handful of locations all around Germany, MoschMosch is a successful franchise of Japanese noodle bar restaurants serving up a number of appetizing noodle and rice dishes at moderate prices.  Most main dishes under 10 euros.  Service with a smile.

Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
            Sundays and Holidays: 1:00 PM – 11:00 PM

 

Overall – 4 stars

  • Yakisoba mit Hühnchen – 4/5
  • Katsudon – 4.5/5
  • Ti-La-Mi-Su – 3/5
  • Bananen-Frühlingsrollen – 4.5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.moschmosch.com/

Written by geschmack

June 28th, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Konomi Japanisches Restaurant

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Untere Neckarstraße 54 69117 Heidelberg

For many people, especially westerners, Japanese cuisine is synonymous with sushi.  Most of the Japanese restaurants found in Germany and all over Europe primarily feature these delicate rolls of cooked vinegar rice, wrapped around various types of fish, vegetables, or other ingredients.  However, Japanese cuisine goes well beyond sushi.  Teriyaki cooked meats on rice, as well as noodles, such as soba and udon, are other types of dishes featured in Japanese cooking.  Soups are also a traditional part of the Japanese meal.  Konomi Japanese Restaurant, the first such restaurant in Heidelberg, serves up real, traditional Japanese food in a pleasant, authentic Japanese environment.

Konomi is located in the same building as the Schönberger Hof Hotel.  Signs outside the building will direct you into the dining area.  Walk through the cloth curtains and you will find a nice, relaxing setting.  The dining area here at Konomi is relatively small.  The décor features genuine Japanese ceramics and figures, wall screens made out of bamboo, beautifully decorated Japanese folding fans on the walls, and an assortment of different light fixtures.  Tables are wooden and polished.  Seating consists of standard, wooden chairs painted black.  Each table features a petite, black soy sauce dispenser, as well as a tiny, cute jar filled with chili powder (which isn’t too spicy).  During lunch time, a small card displays the daily lunch special (9,80 Euros).  The menu is written in Japanese, German, and English.

 

The lunch menu is restricted to nine dishes, but the entrées are relatively inexpensive and the portion sizes are quite large.  Moreover, each guest is given a small cup filled with green tea, which is continuously refilled by the attentive staff.  Order the 10,80 euro Udon, Kappamaki, and Inari set and you will be served a large tray featuring a mammoth bowl filled with a rich broth and udon noodles, in addition to a platter of six cucumber sushi pieces and one inari sushi.  Adding to the authenticity of the meal, there is a pair of chopsticks lying on a chopstick rest, as well as a large spoon for the soup.

The sushi platter is served with slices of ginger and a small dipping corner brimming with soy sauce, wasabi already mixed in.  The cucumber maki sushi is pretty ordinary, nothing spectacular, although it is a nice palate cleanser.  The green is fresh and crunchy, but aside from that, it is merely average.  On the other hand, the inari sushi is extremely delicious.  The fried tofu pouch filled with sushi rice is simply marvelous.  A slight hint of sweetness makes the inari wonderful.  It is soft, delicate, and simple, yet so delicious.  Dip it into the soy sauce for an extra touch of flavor.

Udon – thick noodles made from wheat-flour – are absolutely delectable.  They are fairly soft and smooth and have a clean, pure taste.  The noodles soak up the warm, rich broth well.  Speaking of which, the warm soup accompanying the noodles definitely soothes the soul on a cold, rainy day.  Tenkasu, which are crunchy, deep-fried bits of dough that are typically used in making tempura, is also served with the noodles in a side bowl.  Eat them crunchy as is to provide a nice textural contrast between crunchy and soft or pour them into the soup to soak and enjoy the spongy, tasty pieces together with the noodles and broth.  Either way, the Tenkasu offers a pleasant flavor enhancement to the bowl of noodles.

Konomi is undoubtedly the best overall Japanese restaurant in Heidelberg.  With its extensive, authentic menu, delicious and tasty cuisine, and friendly, efficient staff, Konomi is THE place to enjoy an authentic Japanese meal without having to fly thousands of miles to Japan.  Although the dinner menu is large, it is also fairly expensive.  The lunch menu is easier on the pocket, yet filling.  Definitely worth paying a visit if you are in the mood for some Japanese cuisine.

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Summary:

Situated right across the Heidelberg Congress House, which overlooks the Neckar River, Konomi is a traditional Japanese Restaurant serving up authentic, original Japanese cuisine.  Located on the first floor of the Schönberger Hof Hotel.  Lunch Menu with altering daily dish.  Exquisite presentation, truly traditional dishes.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12 PM – 2:30 PM, 6 PM – 11 PM 
            Sunday, Holidays 6 PM – 11 PM 
            Closed Mondays

 

Overall – 5 stars

  • Udon Noodles with Tenkasu (deep fried flour dough) – 5/5
  • Inari Sushi – 5/5
  • Kappamaki Sushi (Cucumber) – 3.5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.konomi.de/

Written by geschmack

February 23rd, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Same Same Sushi Bar

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Steingasse 3 69117 Heidelberg

On a cold winter night in Heidelberg, I am fortunate to find shelter in a slick, modern sushi bar.  Seated at one of the blond-striped wooden benches, under the sleek lighting, while listening to trendy, upbeat music in the background, I browse through the tiny menu of Maki, Nigiri and a few other typical Japanese items.  A candle slowly burns away on top of the table.  Waiting beside the flickering flame is a lonely bottle of Yamasa soy sauce.  This is the scene at Same Same Sushi Bar.

The selection of sushi is quite limited here.  There are about ten different types of Maki sushi, each with one choice of fish, vegetable, or egg.  Each order consists of 6 bite-sized cylindrical pieces of sushi, a small dollop of wasabi, and thin slices of sweet, pickled ginger.  Each order of Nigiri comes with 2 pieces.

 

The Omelet Maki simply consists of a chunk of egg omelet in the middle of vinegar rice and seaweed.  The omelet has a delicate texture; however, it scarcely adds any flavor to the sushi.  The cold rice tastes excellent, exactly what is expected.  The nori seaweed is slightly moist and slimy.  Overall, the sushi tastes good, but not great.  Mixing the wasabi and the soy sauce, each piece of Maki gets an added boost in flavor.  This brand of soy sauce isn’t exactly tasty, but it’s satisfactory.  The pickled ginger is the best part of the dish.  Sweet and crunchy, it surely tasted yummy.

The Yakatori – grilled chicken skewers marinated in teriyaki sauce, with sprinkled with sesame seeds on top – comes with 3 sticks.  Although the marinade penetrates the meat extremely well, resulting in a tasty dish of poultry meat, the chicken came to my table a little bit cold.  It tasted as if it was reheated in a microwave (in fact, I could hear the sounds of a microwave humming after I placed my order).  Aside from this major drawback, the chicken is complemented well with the sesame seeds.

 

Same Same (which means shark in Japanese) is in a great location, steps away from the famed Old Bridge and monkey statue.  Unfortunately, the prices reflect this – the Omelet Maki costs 3,00 €, while the Yakatori 3,90 €.  For the amount of food given, this is far from a bargain.  With its mediocre food, Same Same is just tame tame.

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Summary:

Same Same Sushi Bar is a stylish, cozy, modern Japanese sushi bar offering a relatively small selection of Maki and Nigiri sushi.

Hours: Monday – Thursday, Sunday 12:00 PM – 10 PM 
               Friday and Saturday 12 PM – 11 PM
 

Overall – 2.5 Stars

  • Omelet Maki – 2/5
  • Chicken Yakatori – 3/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

November 19th, 2009 at 10:33 pm